Wow, I can’t believe that 2016 is over!
It’s been a crazy year, with everything that is going on in the world, but personally for me it’s been a pretty transformative year and was filled with adventure! I backpacked across Southeast Asia, crossed off 7 new countries, learned to scuba dive, moved across the country and had my first full year blogging! Here is The Fly Away Life’s 2016 recap:
This time last year, I was ringing in the the New Year with thousands of other party-goers on Pub Street in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Siem Reap, stole my inner history buff’s heart! I loved exploring the temples of Angkor Wat and pretending to be Lara Croft.
This was the fourth stop on my Southeast Asian adventures and it definitely surprised me! Vietnam had so much to offer. I spent about a month in the country and visited some incredible places. My favorites were Mui Ne, Dalat, Hoi An, and Hanoi.
One of the best parts about Vietnam was that because most people either travel north to south or vice versa we ended up meeting up with the same group of backpackers in different cities and met some really lovely people.
After three full months on the road, it was nice to come back to a place. I was excited for pad thai, Chang beer and $2 massages again! After a quick stop in Bangkok, I headed down to explore the islands. Some highlights were exploring the deserted Koh Jum, touring the islands surrounding Phuket, enjoying the nightlife of Koh Phi Phi and partying on the beach with thousands of people at the Full Moon Party.
But my favorite memory from this part of the trip was getting my PADI open water diver certification! Getting to explore a whole new part of the world is amazing.
Malaysia is such a diverse and interesting country! I visited tropical islands, big cities, small artsy towns and jungles. My three week jaunt through Malaysia took me through Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Melakka. I’m definitely more of a city girl, so KL really blew me away with all the it had to offer! I also really loved the artsy vibe and amazing street art of of Georgetown, Penang.
There is such a large amount of things to do in this small country! Exploring Universal Studios Singapore and seeing the skyline from the top of Marina Bay Sands was definitely a highlight. We also got to reconnect with a friend we had met earlier on our cruise in Vietnam. After being on the road for so long, it was nice to see a familiar face.
I ended up spending the majority of March in Bali and Gili Trawangan. Bali was amazing but different than I expected. I enjoyed Kuta and Ubud, but absolutely fell in love with the little fishing town of Ahmed in the northeast of the island. There was amazing snorkeling, the people were ridiculously kind, and the fresh seafood was unreal.
Gili T was an interesting island and we ended up getting a little “stuck” there. We intended to stay only for a 2 or 3 days but ended up staying a little over a week. The diving was AMAZING and I think if I went back somewhere in SEA for my advanced it would most likely be here. The simplicity of the island (there are no motorized vehicles & the power often goes out) really resonated with me.
Songkran, the Thai New Year, is the coolest festival I have ever been too. Well not literally, because it actually falls during the hottest time of year in Thailand. Which is why the Thai people often take to the streets to throw water on each other in celebration. The ritual is to cleanse oneself of the past years struggles and start anew. It’s also basically a giant water fight in the street!
I don’t have the right words to describe how fantastically amazing the Philippines are. Seriously, this country blew me away. There wasn’t a spot I visited that I didn’t completely fall in love with. We started off our time in the country with a bang on the party island of Boracay and had so much fun. Then we moved on to Cebu & Negros to dive and swim with sardines, turtles and whale sharks!
Sardines, turtles & whale sharks, oh my!
The little island of Siquijor was the highlight where we crashed a local block party and Joe became an honorary member of the island’s basketball team. Bohol, with it’s chocolate hills and tiny monkeys, stole my heart. To cap it all off we visited what has been continuously voted the most beautiful island in the world- Palawan and the beautiful beach town of El Nido.
The Best Mistake EVER-
While searching for a flight home, we happened to stumble upon what I thought was a traveler myth- a mistake fare! For only $76 dollars TOTAL, both Joe & I could fly from Hong Kong back to Boston. We immediately booked it and awaited our confirmation from United. When we finally got our tickets, we did a little dance for all the money we saved and promptly booked a flight to Hong Kong!
Since Hong Kong was sort of a surprise add on, we went into it with very little planning. We stayed right in the middle Causeway Bay area which gave a great MTR access. We visited Victoria Park for the views, ate Dim Sum aplenty, road the harbour ferry, did some shopping and ended our day with the city lightshow.
The next day we visited Hong Kong Disneyland. This is my fourth Disney Park on my quest to visit them all (so far I’ve been to Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris & now Hong Kong Disneyland). We had a lot of fun riding the rides and meeting characters but were very surprised at how small the park was in general.
Because I hadn’t gotten enough of a Disney fill in Hong Kong, once I got back home my family booked a trip to Disney World to visit my sister who works there. It was so nice to spend this quality time with my family after being away for so long and we had a lot of fun!
Moving to Florida-
If you follow me on snapchat or instagram, you may have noticed a slight change in location. This life-long New Englander has moved from Boston to sunny South Florida! It’s been an adjustment but I’m loving the weather and my new Floridian life. I’m looking forward to posting about some of my adventures about Florida on here real soon!
So there you have it, I literally flew around the globe in 2016! I hope you enjoyed The Fly Away Life’s 2016 recap and following along. I think that the coolest thing I’ve done this year has been sharing a part of my life with you here. I’ve absolutely loved sharing my adventures and learning more about this whole blogging thing. I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me and this blog!